Rising welterweight prospect Vito Mielnicki Jr. was victorious via 10th-round TKO Saturday night, as he defeated Nicholas DeLomba in the FOX PBC Fight Night main event and on FOX Deportes live from Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
“It was a beautiful right hand that hurt him,” said Mielnicki Jr. “He was a tough guy and he made me work all night. At 19-years-old going 10-rounds, I felt great and my wind was great. I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I’m blessed to be in this position and we definitely can’t wait to be back in 2022.”
Fighting in front of a hometown crowd, the Roseland, New Jersey-native Mielnicki (10-1, 7 KOs) began to find a spot for his offense in round three when a clean right hook connected on DeLomba (16-4, 5 KOs) and froze him temporarily. Mielnicki followed up with a vicious flurry as DeLomba tried to move and remain tight in his guard in order to survive the round.
DeLomba finally began to increase his offense in round four, landing some good overhand rights, but was still struggling to slow down his 19-year-old opponent. Part of his troubles came from his own strategy to follow Mielnicki around the ring, as the younger fighter was able to consistently get shots off, move out of the way of a counter and reset in position to attack again.
“I think in this fight I definitely displayed my boxing ability,” said Mielnicki Jr. “I was using my feet. Everyone knows me as a puncher and a pressure guy. I was in there with a tough guy and I want to thank him for sharing the ring with me tonight.”
Mielnicki rode this strategy on his way to a big edge in overall punches landed, connecting on 150 to DeLomba’s 55, according to CompuBox. Mielnicki was also able to build up a big advantage in power punches landed with a 105 to 41 tally.
The action remained in Mielnicki’s favor throughout the rest of the bout, as Mielnicki went into the 10th round for the first time in his career. DeLomba nearly avoided big trouble till the final bell, but a huge right hand from Mielnicki left him staggered and hurt in the 10th and final round. Appearing on weak legs, Mielnicki pounced on DeLomba and forced referee Eric Dali, at the advice of DeLomba’s corner, to waive off the bout 1:49 in the final round.
“I just want to keep growing and growing next year,” said Mielnicki Jr. “I might get on some undercards next year, or I’d be thrilled to main event here at Prudential Center again.”
In the co-main event, sensational prospect Joey Spencer (14-0, 10 KOs) delivered a fifth-round knockout over Limberth Ponce (18-5, 11 KOs), landing a clean right hook that ended their super welterweight contest.
“He’s a game fighter and he came to win,” said Spencer. “I planned to look sharp and I used my previous experiences to help me in this fight. The punch I needed was there in the end.”
The rising prospect Spencer began the fight patiently, looking to work off his jab and mix in an explosive lead left hook. He also sought to target Ponce’s body, landing 26 body shots throughout the fight. Spencer held an overall 60 to 19 advantage in punches landed.
Spencer broke through in round five, staggering Ponce with a combination in the opening moments of the fight. Later in the round, Spencer hurt Ponce with a powerful left hook that wobbled his opponent and signified the fight could be over shortly.
As Spencer continued to rush his beleaguered opponent, he would eventually land a booming right hook that put Ponce down hard, prompting referee Eric Dali to halt the bout 1:24 into the round.
In a six-round rematch, New Jersey’s Rajon Chance (6-0-1, 5 KOs) won a hard-fought split-decision over Elon De Jesus (3-1-1, 2 KOs) in their featherweight attraction.
Chance and De Jesus met Saturday night in a rematch of their September bout that ended in a majority draw. Their rivalry dates back to a 2018 amateur duel won by Chance via split-decision.
Chance had a majority of his success when he was able to keep the distance and work off of his jab, while De Jesus gained confidence throughout the fight, navigating the distance and landing hard shots on the inside. While De Jesus threw more punches (223-182), it was Chance who owned the 59-48 edge in punches landed, connecting on 32% to De Jesus’ 22%.
In a physical final round that saw the two men exchange low blows in search of an exclamation point to their longstanding rivalry, it was Chance who boxed his way to victory via split decision. One judge scored the bout 58-56 for De Jesus, but was overruled by scores of 59-55 and 58-56 for Chance.
“The key to the fight was my jab,” said Chance. “I just had to stick with that throughout the fight and have fun. I stayed much more disciplined and focused than I did in the first fight. I can’t wait to do it again. I’m going to keep building and having fun in 2022.”
The broadcast also featured unbeaten Cuban prospect Yoelvis Gomez (5-0, 5 KOs) earn a blistering first round knockout over Clay Collard (9-6-3, 4 KOs) in their super welterweight bout.
“The strategy was to go in there nice and calm, but I felt early that he could not handle my hand speed and power,” said Gomez. “I just got loose and let it go in there.”
The Havana-native Gomez hurt Collard almost instantly out of the gate, staggering him with a combination that led him to up his aggression in hopes of ending the fight early. Collard, who had made a reputation of upsetting and giving rising prospects tough challenges, was unable to recover from the early shot he took.
“I knew that he was a tough fighter, so I came prepared with this mentality to get the job done,” said Gomez. “A lot of people say that he beat good fighters, so my only goal was to take him out.”
Gomez would score a knockdown in the round with a vicious left-right combo of hooks and finished the fight shortly after with a relentless flurry that forced referee Earl Brown to call off the fight 2:11 into the round.
On the FS1 telecast that preceded bouts on FOX, Kenneth Sims Jr. (17-2-1, 5 KOs) fought his way to a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Keshawn Williams (8-1-1, 2 KOs) after eight rounds of welterweight action. The judges scored the fight 77-75 and 79-73 twice, all in favor of Sims.
Action on FS1 also saw unbeaten super welterweight prospect Travon Marshall (4-0, 3 KOs) earn a TKO at 2:18 of the fourth round against Brian Jones (15-13, 9 KOs), plus Newark’s Michael Anderson (22-3-1, 16 KOs) scored a third-round knockout over Noe Lopez (10-5-1, 4 KOs) 33 seconds into the round.
Photo: Kate Frese/HBSE